Since Malcolm Turnbull succeeded to the Prime ministership, the Coalition has seen a disastrous decline, not only in the popularity of the new Prime Minister, but also in its national vote from a commanding lead of 57-43 to 50-50.
Most of the commentary in the media focuses on voters deserting Turnbull. Leigh Sales raised the question of his declining popularity when he appeared on the ABC’s 730 program. Turnbull’s response was less than impressive, a lot of mumbling and handwaving but in fairness, it is a pretty difficult question: ” Why don’t people like you?”
Malcolm Turnbull: If you close your eyes, all your problems go away
Nonetheless, this question won’t go away because it comes to the heart of the reasons why people will or will not vote for the Coalition in the federal election.
Today, The Age reports that: After resisting all efforts for months to get him to address the people’s disappointment, Malcolm Turnbull has confronted Australia’s letdown with his prime ministership.
But the problem, he implies in an interview, is not him. It’s us.
The dominant change in Australia’s politics in the past half-year has been the collapse in his standing with the people. He has lost the approval of some 3.25 million voters in that time, based on the fall in his approval rating in the Fairfax Ipsos poll.
If you can stand 1700 words of blancmange, you should read his explanations in the article Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull says ‘I haven’t changed … one iota’
In essence, what Turnbull is saying is that he hasn’t changed his views at all and that the current Coalition policies represent an adequate vehicle for these views. In other words, there is very little difference between the policies that Tony Abbott developed on issues such as climate change, same-sex marriage and the Republic and the ones that Malcolm Turnbull currently holds.
The other thing he is saying is that the 3.25 million people who have changed their opinion of him have got it wrong. And presumably they will have got it wrong if they don’t vote for him on election day.